Monday, 29 September 2014

"We are Scotland's Ombudsman" the last resort?

"The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) is the final stage for complaints about councils, the National Health Service, housing associations, colleges and universities, prisons, most water and sewerage providers, the Scottish Government and its agencies and departments and most Scottish authorities.

 "Our vision is of enhanced public confidence in high quality, continually improving public services in Scotland which consistently meet the highest standards of public administration. We aim to bring this about by providing a trusted, effective and efficient complaint handling service which remedies injustice for individuals resulting from maladministration or service failure."


(Quotes above from the SPSO website, bolding is mine.  Photos of Senior Management at SPSO, screenshot from website)

On 17 September 2013 I submitted an online complaint about NHS Fife to the SPSO website about my son's dehumanising treatment in Stratheden Hospital in February 2012.  I did this because I wasn't happy with the way that my complaints against NHS Fife were handled.  

On 9 December 2013, after conversations with an SPSO Complaints Reviewer that I didn't find particularly helpful or supportive, I finally was informed that my complaint would be passed on to the SPSO "investigation team".

On 16 December 2013 I received a letter from the SPSO Complaints Reviewer who had been "allocated" my complaint.

On 20 February 2014 I received an Email from the SPSO Complaints Reviewer who informed me that he had referred my complaint " to the Ombudsman’s mental health adviser for his comments".

I received occasional updates from the SPSO Investigator by Email on the progression of my complaint and then on Friday past, 26 September 2014, I received a voicemail at around 5pm to say that the decision letter on my complaint about NHS Fife had been issued with mention of an option to phone to discuss afterwards.

[It was my birthday yesterday]

This morning, 29 September 2014, I received the SPSO letter with the "decision" on my complaint.  I wasn't happy with what was written and phoned to discuss the letter with the Complaints Reviewer.  I then Emailed him, copying in the SPSO senior management team.  

Here is the last paragraph of my Email:


"I will be writing a full response to your Investigation, the points you make, the Adviser comments and your decisions on these (I may do this in a blog or book in full view).  It seems to me on first reading of your letter that the words of NHS Fife staff hold more weight than the words of a mother and her son.  Justifying human rights abuse and bad practice in "notes" (or "records") that read like works of fiction.  I am not surprised but I am disappointed.  I had hoped for justice.  It just means that I will keep on speaking out until justice is done."


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Email from mother, subject "Ward 4" (Stratheden Hospital IPCU)

"I am the mum who emailed you 4 days ago about my son.  I went in to see him yesterday at 3 pm and he couldn’t walk, stand or string 2 words together - I have never seen him like this.  I queried when he had last been medicated to be told ‘9 am’!  I was really worried at this point as surely some 6 hours later he should not be like this.  I asked for a doctor to be called out as I was so concerned and they did this and said someone would be in to look over him after 4 pm (when I would be gone).   I was told he had stumbled on a few occasions prior to me coming into the ward. I tried to sit with him for a while to no avail as he was totally out of it so I asked if he could go to his bed to rest and was informed that he couldn’t but he could lie on the couch - where he ususally has to sleep.  I think it is appalling that someone doesn’t even have the basic right to go to bed when medicated so much.

I also agree with one of your other comments re getting a drink of water as they need to ask for a door to be unlocked to do this.  I have even taken him up plastic bottles of water to be told he can’t have these.

Similarly with a cd player - he can’t have it.

My son doesn’t just have mental health problems, he also has 2 acquired brain injuries and Ward 4 is not just the correct environment for anyone let alone someone with his sensitivities. 

I feel there is absolutely no place for him to go for one minute peace and quiet (something which is not only a basic right but very much needed for someone with acquired brain injury) to get away for the manic environment.  Indeed, I go in for 2 hours visit and come out so stressed with the constant noise that I can’t imagine what it must be like 24/ 7 .

I came home on Friday to make phone calls to the Mental Welfare Commission, the Consultant on the ward, the service manager and the Care Inspectorate to voice my opinion that this environment is making my son more ill.

To answer your question re the seclusion room - YES it is still currently being used - my son has been in it on a few occasions during the past week!!!

I am now googling to see if there is somewhere else we can move him to as this place is just not conducive to him recovering in the near future.

A very distressed and worried mum.

PS Happy for you to post this on your blog."

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Hello? Is anyone listening to the mothers?

I received an Email yesterday from a mother who had read this blog, saying that her son was in Ward 4 (IPCU) at Stratheden and was being forcibly injected then shut in the "padded cell" or seclusion room.

This mother talked about being at her "wits end".  

IPCU back door March 2012
This mother speaks about having to go in the back door of the ward and asks "is it to hide anything?".

(just as I had to in February 2012, when other visitors got in the front door although now it has a window and bell)

This mother mentions having written an advance statement a few years ago saying she didn't want her son to be put in Stratheden Hospital again.

This mother says that her son's phone has been taken off him because it has a camera.  His phone is a lifeline and means of communication with his family and the outside world. 

Hello.  Is anyone listening to the mothers?